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Jurgen Klinsmann picked his roster to win now, not later

May 23, 2014, 7:15 PM EDT

Enough of this nonsense. Please.

This is the World Cup we are gearing up for, not the NBA draft.

You know, the event that comes once every four years.  There will be four Champions League finals, two Gold Cups, a Copa America, and an Olympics between this World Cup and the next.

You don’t tank a World Cup to prepare for the next one four years into the distance.  You just don’t.  That’s why all of this talk that Jurgen Klinsmann has picked a young squad to prepare for the 2018 World Cup is utter shenanigans. I’m calling shenanigans.

Not only is throwing away four years of hard work on the off chance that the experience helps in the future completely ludicrous, but the United States isn’t even guaranteed to be in the next World Cup. Just ask Mexico about how things turn out when you take a World Cup berth for granted (you’re welcome, El Tri).

If Jurgen Klinsmann even hints that the squad he chose for Brazil was to prepare for the 2018 World Cup (which he by all means will not), he should be fired on the spot.

Klinsmann selected the players he did for the 2014 World Cup because in his evaluation, through talent, experience, skill, and character traits, these 23 players give the United States their best chance to make it out of Group G and as far as possible into the knockout phase.

Sure, it’s nice to have an 18-year-old phenom on the squad, and while he probably won’t play much, he will be preparing for future years at the international level.  But Klinsmann would not have thrown away the opportunity to select someone else who could significantly help this year just to give a kid experience for the future.  That would be heresy.

MORE ON US ROSTER ANNOUNCEMENT

So for all those that say Landon Donovan (or any of the other six cuts) was left out of the squad because Klinsmann has an opportunity to get ready for the next World Cup four years away, stop it.  We may not all agree with his assessment, but the skipper chose the 23 players he did because he believes they have the best shot for the United States to win now.

Does it help that they’re young, and the country can begin to really build a solid foundation on their potential success? Sure.  But flopping in this year’s World Cup does nobody a lick of good, and could even cause the US Soccer Federation to go completely back to the drawing board.  Does going three-and-out this year, especially in ugly fashion, really help the country build for the future?

This isn’t the NBA. Nobody’s losing for a better pick to build a winning team. Tanking a World Cup to prepare for another four years into the future is asinine. So Klinsmann, as crazy as he is, isn’t doing it.

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  1. talgrath - May 23, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    Finally somebody else who gets it; the folks thinking that Klinsmann is tanking this World Cup to give experience to the younger players haven’t been paying attention to how the players who were cut were playing. I have a great deal of respect for Landon Donovan and all of the players cut, but with respect they weren’t necessarily the best players to put in the World Cup, each for different reasons, from what I saw. We didn’t see these guys in training, Klinsmann did, he saw what he thinks he needs in these players.

  2. bdh75gunner - May 23, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    Spot on. Sure there may be some underlying issues between Klinsy and Landy, but at the end of the day, the guy knows what he’s doing.

  3. kurgen99 - May 23, 2014 at 7:54 PM

    The thing about Klinsmann is that he has gotten good results with some very different USA teams playing in terms of who was on the field, sometimes guys I’d never heard of, and sometimes without guys I thought were essential. He picked 23 players that make what he thinks is the best unit, and sometimes the best teams aren’t those with the big stars.

    I’m just going to trust Jurgen. I think he has earned that.

  4. patriotsdefense - May 23, 2014 at 9:50 PM

    The funny thing is if there is an injury on Tuesday or up until the opening game on the 16th, Donovan can be subbed back into the active 23.

    If anything his exclusion from the active 23 has made a massive impact within the US which otherwise would not have been felt. It’s being talked about all over ESPN, here, heck all over the real news too, with the likes of of ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, FOX Sports 1, SKY sports, BBC ect.

    It would be funny that after all this controversy he ends up in Brazil anyway. It would make the ratings for the matches exponentially grow and grow.

  5. cartrasuma - May 24, 2014 at 3:11 AM

    Why do you assume that picking a squad for 2018 means they are “tanking” this year? This isn’t an either/or situation. They are committed to winning now but also pragmatic about the role experience will play going forward.

    I agree with the content of your article but the tone is alarming.

  6. eerslbs - May 24, 2014 at 7:19 AM

    It’s definitely a stretch to say Klins is tanking this season, and I don’t agree with those who are insinuating that, but I just don’t get how LD isn’t considered in the top 23. Even more granular, how is he not the best 4 in his position? Lots of history between the two which makes that single decision seem way too personal which is why people are questioning, rightfully so in my opinion. But games aren’t played on paper and if this team performs well and makes it out of the group, JL will look like a genius.

  7. guerojose - May 24, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    And he sure as heck didn’t pick a squad to win four years ago! Now, if someone would please inform Taylor Twellman, who’s out there shouting to anyone who will listen that it’s a basic FACT that Klinsmann’s eye is on 2018. Of course, when pressed on which forward should’ve been left off the roster instead of Donovan, he has no answer. I’m a big Donovan fan, but unfortunately on a 23-man roster there just isn’t room for a designated “super sub” who can’t run for more than 15 minutes.

  8. josephurban - May 24, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    Wrong. Picking two inexperienced youngsters over 2 wily veterans means that JK is looking ahead. LD can give the USA 45-60 minutes of top quality soccer. Passing, shooting, reading the game, getting back in defense, anticipating where the ball will be and serving Dempsey. JK simply did not like the fact that LD is an adult and does not worship at the altar of JK.

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